Photo Booth Project

Photobooth Project from Shayla Penera on Vimeo.

My classmate Tiffany Mohasesi and I got together to carry out the Photo Booth Project where we were assigned to photograph different people in our community. Although we had a whole week to get together and take photos, we let Spring Break get the best of us. After a refreshing break and a visit to the Museum of Photographic Arts, we decided to head back to Balboa Park to capture the portraits.

At first the task didn’t seem too difficult, we knew there would be lots of people at the park so we just had to get them in front of the camera. Now we know that’s easier said than done…

Some people didn’t have a problem with it at all, and others took a little convincing. For a good 15 minutes there were denials after denials and I began to feel discouraged. Tiffany and I knew we had to switch up our game plan so we moved from a few locations until we planted ourselves in front of the iconic Balboa Park background. We figured this would have been a more successful spot because there were already people stopping and taking pictures there. I realized that taking the time to explain our project and why we were there encouraged a lot of people to join in and participate. I figured that maybe if people found a connection or reason to help out a couple of college students that they’d take a step out of their comfort zone and help us carry out this art project.

We got to know a few of the participants and where they were from. Our first participants were a friendly couple from East LA visiting San Diego for the day, they were eager to share their experience of living in LA and what they liked and disliked comparing San Diego and their hometown. A few participants were traveling with a cruise ship and we had noticed them because of their biking gear and helmets, but no bikes. The participants were both from different countries and had somehow need up working on the cruise ship together. After a slow start we experienced a rush of people towards the end of our visit to Balboa Park. One of the participants had shared the his father suffered from alzheimer’s. Instead of participating in the project itself he was much more concerned of capturing a portrait.

I loved this project because it allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and work in settings that  enabled me to go with the flow and be spontaneous. A lot of the participants were happy to share their stories and a little background, many of them were visitors of San Diego and we all bonded over how great the city is and all the places there are to see. In the future I could definitely see myself doing a project like this showcasing the faces and places of my community.